original oil on panel, 24x24 www.oliverray.ca
Just So You Know by: Sarah Addison Allen
You fall in love with every book you touch. You never break the spine or
tear the pages. That would be cruel. You have secret favorites but, when asked,
you say that you could never choose. But did you know that books
fall in love with you, too? They watch you from the shelf while you sleep.
Are you dreaming of them, they wonder, in that wistful mood books are
prone to at night when they’re bored and there’s nothing else to do but tease the cat.
Remember that pale yellow book you read when you were sixteen? It changed
your world, that book. It changed your dreams. You carried it around until
it was old and thin and sparkles no longer rose from the pages and filled the air
when you opened it, like it did when it was new. You should know that it still
thinks of you. It would like to get together sometime, maybe over coffee
next month, so you can see how much you’ve both changed.
And the book about the donkey your father read to you every night when you
were three, it’s still around – older, a little worse for wear. But it still remembers
the way your laughter made its pages tremble with joy.
Then there was that book, just last week, in the bookstore. It caught your eye.
You looked away quickly, but it was too late. You felt the rush. You picked it up
and stroked your hand over its glassy cover. It knew you were The One. But,
for whatever reason, you put it back and walked away. Maybe you were trying
to be practical. Maybe you thought there wasn’t room enough,
time enough, energy enough.
But you’re thinking about it now, aren’t you?
You fall in love so easily.
But just so you know, they do, too.
This essay first appeared as a Valentine’s Day 2010 “More in Store”
feature for Barnes & Noble’s Nook.